Sulfur Springs by William Kent Krueger

Shockingly, this book is set in Arizona close to the Mexican border.

Far, far away from Cork O’Connor’s northern Minnesota.

His new bride Rainy Bisonette receives a desperate phone call from her son, Peter.

The connection is terrible but before the line goes dead, they hear Peter confess to the murder of someone named Rodriquez.

The following morning, Cork and Rainy fly to southern Arizona, where Peter has been working as a counselor in a well-known drug rehab center. When they arrive, they learn that Peter was fired six months earlier and hasn’t been heard from since. So they head to the little desert town of Sulfur Springs where Peter has been receiving his mail. But no one in Sulfur Springs seems to know him. …

As they gather scraps of information about Peter, Cork and Rainy are warned time and again that there is a war going on along the border. “Trust no one in Coronado County,” is the most common piece of advice they receive, and Cork doesn’t have to be told twice.

To him, Arizona is alien country. The relentless heat, the absence of water and big trees and shade all feel nightmarish to him, as does his growing sense that Rainy might know more about what’s going on than she’s willing to admit …

williamkentkrueger.com

STUCK in Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø has the 3rd largest population (80k) north of the Arctic Circle anywhere (following Murmansk and Norilsk). 

At 69° it’s north of Reykjavík, for example.

350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.  The summer sun doesn’t set until July 27th.

On my only other trip to Norway I made it as far north as the Lofoten Islands, but not to Tromsø.

Strikingly scenic, it’s increasingly popular with tourists.

The Arctic Cathedral, built in 1965, is one memorable landmark.

I saw this Telephone booth converted into a FREE community library near the Cathedral. Brilliant.

I enjoyed wandering the streets, some bleak but interesting landscapes. And some ultramodern looking buildings.

With long, dark winters, libraries are popular here.

ME at my Bibliotek hangout. 😀

Historically, this was the furthest outpost of “Norweigans” in an area mainly populated by the Sámi.

Explorers like Roald Amundsen recruited their teams from here. Here’s a statue of Helmer Hanssen from nearby Andøya. (He’s unrelated to the Helly Hansen company, originally based out of Norway, purchased by retail chain Canadian Tire in 2009.)

I saw two memorials to Roald Amundsen, first to reach the South Pole and the North Pole. First to navigate the Northwest Passage.

Amundsen disappeared in June 1928 while flying on a rescue mission for the airship Italia in the Arctic. The search for his remains, which have not been found, was called off in September of that year.

It’s tempting to fly to Tromsø in winter. Very unique. The northern lights are visible most clear nights.

I stayed at the only hostel in town. About US $35 / night. They treated me well.

Click PLAY or see Tromso Activities Hostel on YouTube.

I flew to Tromsø to start south on a long cycling adventure. Sadly my bike and gear got stranded at Heathrow airport. I watched them unmoved for … weeks.

Waiting for my luggage. 😀

Surprisingly, there’s a botanical garden at the University here. Astonishing what they can grow in this climate with sunlight 24 hours / day.

After 2 weeks my gear bag finally arrived. But the bike remains in Heathrow as I post. 🤨

I’m finally heading south without it. By ferry and bus.

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino

Keigo Higashino writes murder mysteries in Japan. Very popular there.

In translation, his books don’t compare with the sophistication and subtlety of American and British writers. But there is something appealing about the slow pace. The simplicity of the scenes.

Also, his translators are not all that good. They get slang wrong most of the time.

Tokyo Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga is a super likeable protagonist.

Demoted, Kaga was transferred to a new precinct.

Newly arrived, but with a great deal of experience, Kaga is promptly assigned to the team investigating the inexplicable murder of a woman in her own home.

But the more he investigates, the greater number of potential suspects emerges.

It isn’t long before it seems nearly all the people living and working in the business district of Nihonbashi have a motive.

Though seemingly simplistic, a Japanese virtue, each of the 9 chapters of this book is a self-contained story, with its own conflicts, its own resolution. There is much more here than just a whodunnit.

Dark Sky by C.J. Box

21st book in the series. Possibly the best, so far.

It was one of Stephen King’s favorite 2021 summer reads.

This novel was written during pandemic lockdown on his ranch.

The author had plenty of time to write and fish.

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must accompany a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip–but soon learns that he himself may be the hunted

When the governor of Wyoming gives Joe Pickett the thankless task of taking a tech baron on an elk hunting trip, Joe reluctantly treks into the wilderness with his high-profile charge.

But as they venture into the woods, a man-hunter is hot on their heels, driven by a desire for revenge. Finding himself without a weapon, a horse, or a way to communicate, Joe must rely on his wits and his knowledge of the outdoors to protect himself and his companion.

Meanwhile, Joe’s closest friend, Nate Romanowski, and his own daughter Sheridan learn of the threat to Joe’s life and follow him into the woods.

In a stunning final showdown, the three of them come up against the worst that nature–and man–have to offer.

CJBox.net

Riverman by Ben McGrath

The riveting true story of Dick Conant, an American folk hero who, over the course of more than twenty years, canoed solo thousands of miles of American rivers—and then disappeared near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This book “contains everything: adventure, mystery, travelogue, and unforgettable characters”

David Grann

The story of a unique American ➙ Dick Conant.

He’s most often compared with Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild ➙ Chris McCandless.

Personally, I don’t see the connection. I was much more reminded of ➙ Eustace Conway, The Last American Man.

Ben McGrath, a staff writer at The New Yorker, met Conant by chance just north of New York City as Conant paddled down the Hudson, headed for Florida. McGrath wrote a widely read article about their encounter, and when Conant’s canoe washed up a few months later, without any sign of his body, McGrath set out to find the people whose lives Conant had touched–to capture a remarkable life lived far outside the staid confines of modern existence. …

Amazon

A great book, well written. It makes you think of your life priorities.

My Skyrace in Norway 😀

I was stuck in Tromsø — the Paris of the north — waiting on my bike and gear which were stuck at Heathrow airport for over 2 weeks. Why not race !!

Tromsø Skyrace was launched 2014 by Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg.

Kílian Jornet is the fastest mountain runner of all time though Karl Egloff has bettered some of Kilian’s records.

Emelie Forsberg is Kilian’s partner, mother of two, and also an insane mountain runner.

I’d like to claim I was in the mix with the sponsored super athletes in this video … 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

There are 3-4 different distances raced each year. Mine was shortest.

I signed up 2-days in advance of the race for the EASY 16km up and down.

It was more of a hike than a knife edge ridge.

I ended up 153rd, 1hr 44min behind the winner in the short race. My time 3hr 11min.

BUT I was happy with how I did. Running in I still felt great — avoiding muscle cramps which threatened throughout. I’d not really gone running in over a year before this day.

Louise finished ahead of me. We recovered with free vegetarian chile. So tasty, I bought some to take cycling.

In fact, at that point, Louise was wondering what happened to her brother Henry — turned out he had kept going at the short race turnaround. Henry ended up running an extra 7km or so.

Happily, his luck changed later — winning an official race hoody.

Norway – the most successful nation 2022

I’m in Tromsø, Norway as I post.

Most oil rich small nations suffer from severe economic and social issues — but not Norway (5.5 million).

Norway kept control of natural resources in Norway. In 1990 they created the Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund – today worth about $1.2 trillion.

By comparison, the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund where I live is worth only about $18.9 billion. Norway did it right. Alberta did it badly. The 2015 Fraser Institute report titled Fumbling the Alberta Advantage details the bungling.

Norwegians pay some of the highest taxes in the world — but enjoy some of the best health care, education and infrastructure. Small towns well above the Arctic Circle enjoy a good quality of life.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Airlines NOT Paying Compensation

DON’T ASSUME AIRLINES WILL PAY YOU THEIR LEGALLY OBLIGATED COMPENSATION.

Summer 2022, their lawyers are doing everything possible to avoid payouts.

As I feared, Westjet airlines will not compensate me for being stranded at an airport overnight.

They are pretending there was a delay at my international connection in Toronto — my Westjet flight from Europe landed on time and I planned a long layover just-in-case.

My Toronto flight departed 80 minutes late causing me to miss a connection by about 10 minutes.

The problem had nothing to do with my international connection.

My cost was only about $100 and time — so I don’t think I’ll take Westjet to small claims court this time. But if I did, I’m sure I’d win.

Find You First by Linwood Barclay

Yet another intriguing plot from the Canadian author.

This book did keep me interested throughout.

Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past…

Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

… One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on?

linwoodbarclay.com